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  The Canton to Liverpool Plank Road Toll Road and Tollhouse

Canton Liverpool Tollhouse
Canton Liverpool Tollhouse Zoom in on Canton Liverpool Tollhouse
Canton to Liverpool Road Go to image of a map of the plank road
When founded in 1836, Liverpool promised to be an important shipping center. A plank road between Liverpool and Canton would improve the fortunes of both towns. Thomas Maple, a successful businessman in Fulton County, originated the idea of a plank road. In 1850 he organized the Canton and Liverpool Plank Road Company, selling 700 shares of capital stock Go to image of a message to stockholders, 1854 for $50 each. The sawmill village of "Maples Mill" or "Slabtown" was founded by Maple to furnish the planking for the road. The cost of the plank road was $3000 per mile and totaled $40,000 to finish the ten mile road.

Chapman (1879:1014) had provided this detailed account of the plank road's construction:

The distance from the public square in Canton to Liverpool was 13 miles, about 1 1/4 miles of which is bottom land. The road-bed was graded 16 feet wide on top, and the plank track was about 8 feet wide, laid upon the dirt road. The plank was 2 x 6 inches and laid upon square oak stringers. The plank road was just wide enough for one wagon, and in passing, one vehicle would have to turn out upon the dirt road. There were three toll gates arranged along the line at different places for the purpose of collecting the toll, which was so much per mile. One of these was located one mile south of Canton, one three miles further south, and one at Liverpool.

In 1854, according to the stockholders' report, $4,752 in net toll revenues had been earned in twenty-nine months, but $3,500 in repairs were made and stockholders were asked to pay $10 per share to apply for the debt. Two years later the company went out of business because of the building of a new levee three miles upriver at Copperas Creek Landing that shortened the free road to Canton. The planks were taken up and used to pay off the stockholders. Shortly thereafter, the town of Canton became a junction for two railroad companies.

The Tollhouse
The southernmost tollhouse on the Liverpool to Canton plank road was located in Liverpool and stood until 1980. It was a 25 x 33 foot rectangular building, alongside which were the scales that weighed wagons that used the toll road. There is no trace today of the tollhouse, except the foundation, because it was demolished and burned in 1980.

No trace has been found of the original positions of the other two tollhouses on the Liverpool to Canton road. The Canton tollhouse has been preserved Go to image of Canton-Liverpool tollhouse and is today under the stewardship of Dickson Mounds Museum. It originally served as the office of the plank road company as well as a toll booth. Therefore, it was more elaborate in its architectural style. Seth Leeds, who saved the building from demolition in 1971, described it:

The architecture of the Toll House is quite unusual. It is an octagon with a diameter of 20 feet, and has an unusual onion-shaped tin cupola about an asphalt-covered roof. The structure has decorative wood trim, one wide (garage-like) door, and a ticket window at the opposite side with a half-door with a small shelf-counter inside. The wooden structure is board and batten.

Decorative motifs Go to image of a closeup of a bracket include dentil molding on the frieze just below the eaves that reflects the dentil pendants on the cupola and chinoiserie brackets at each corner. The oriental influence was very much in vogue in the United States during the first half of the nineteenth century.

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